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TEDxULg Presentation

The content in this presentation is based on contributions from members of the Edgeryders community to various discussions on @Ladyniasan

Illustrations by Malica Worms.

People are doing interesting things at the edge.

I would like to tell you about some of the many people doing interesting things at the edge. They are doing innovative, groundbreaking work completely out of any formal space. And they are taking large amounts of personal risk to do so. I think its important to tell you about them, Because if things go well for them we all stand to benet. As individuals, communities and societies. Even if they don't, we have a lot to learn from their experiments and experiences..


Open source, open design, open everything enthusiast with a diploma in computer science and a background in all things tech. Entrepeneuring in a lile collaborative consumption startup. In his spare time, making a truck his home.

Over the past three years Matthias has been building EarthOS. An operating system for the planet. He thinks it will enable us to reduce waste. And live autarkically while still maintaining a reasonable standard of living. So far he has produced a 971 pg long document which looks at the EarthOS from a top down systems engineering perspective. It contains a large amount of technical details as well as a large and growing selection of existing free and open projects from all areas. The document also serves as a mental framework for relevant technical detail work. This year he is prototyping it while living and traveling in his customised reghter truck.

Modeling banking from a network engineering perspective

Computer Scientist, working at the University of Reykjavik on the operation and behaviour of the banking system, and how it interacts with the monetary system. When not researching banking, she works on a mixture of high performance computer problems, and signal processing applications.

Next Id like to introduce you to Jacky. Jacky is a developing model of the banking system from a new perspective. Essentially she sees it as a distributed computing network. Her results are surprising and counter-intuitive to economists. But they do oer an explanation for dierences in performance in western economies since the crises started. If the model is validated it could have serious implications on how we think about money supply and the economy. Even if the model is incorrect, the methodology oers an interesting approach towards understanding a thorny issue. Something which many would agree is needed.

Resilient health through networks

Lucas Gonzlez Santa Cruz

Public health physician, monitoring u and helping in readiness against u pandemics. Cooperates with the Hexayurt Project on open tools for fast, cooperative, creative resilience in the face of non-trivial threats. Member of freesoware and open-hardware groups locally. Twitter: lucasgonzalez

All over Europe and beyond we are seeing cuts to dierent kinds of services. But how do we deal with a reduction of resources to meet the same amount of needs? What do we do if resources for say health are cut to 25% for 2 years? Resources for health being money for sta, equipment, supplies e.g. of insulin etc. Many people are asking these questions and experimenting with solutions. Lucas, Gaia, Vinay, Arthur, Darren and others are exploring the value of community in increasing the ability of crucial infrastructures to resist severe shocks without collapsing. In other words they ask how we go about leveraging community to improve the resilience of a place. Why is this relevant? Because they think that the commitment to mutual aid, and socialsolidarity can be crucial in ensuring people work together tohelp eachother out of crisis. Rather than ghting each other forscraps when things go wrong. As a case study they are collaboratively building a simple to use resource, also for non-medical professionals, to help people keep their health care systems going in a country where an economic meltdown is happening, or about to happen. (Source discussion:


Coordinator and communications lead at the ChokePoint Project. Core member of the P2P Foundation. Co-founder and organiser of many events based around participation and technology as part of Cataspanglish. Previously Social Media & Community Outreach Coordinator at Citilab. Twitter: cataspanglish

During the arab spring a group of people worried when the then Egyptian government, led by Hosni Mubarak, shut down Internet access for the entire country. Chris was one of those people. They are now trying to monitor the global net to show in simple interactive forms which restrictions to online freedom of expression and privacy are being perpetrated. Where and by whom. The idea is to identify technical and legal points of enforcement, or chokepoints, so as to be able to route around them. And restore Internet freedom. It combines network measurements with legal, commercial and journalistic data to increase contextual relevance.

Prototyping a non-transactional economy

Specializes in information and communication technologies, worked his last paid job over 5 years ago in san francisco as web developer for startup in eld of fractional ownership of luxury goods. Currently instead he collaborates with various groups working on distributed networking protocols including a few W3C community groups... Twitter: @elfpavlik

Elf has been living moneyless and stateless for over three years. He is living without money not because he has to or because hes crazy. Elf does it because he believes that a non transaction economy would be more liberating for people. He argues that it would amongst other benets, enable better matching of ability with activities that is- it would enable you to do what youre good at and enjoy doing. Elf is building soware to make it easier to do something for someone else which doesnt mean that that person is indebted to you. The moneyless living experience gives a lot of insight into the social soware of human relationships: he is discovering needs which he can help satisfy which he probably wouldnt know about otherwise. Basically what Elf is doing is prototyping a non transactional economy. hes building tools and setting an example to enable cultural change. The way he does is by putting himself out there and living in a future he wants to be a part of. And by doing so he is contributing towards it happening. By simply taking its dierent components out of the realm of the unimaginable and putting them into the realm of the possible. This opens doors to spaces we didnt didnt know existed. In our environments but also within ourselves.

Their work is meaningful in itself It has importance not measured in market value.

What do these people have in common? Hint: theyre not creating startups around the initiatives presented above... All of these people have chosen paths which lead them out of the market economy. Truly groundbreaking work, the really new, lives outside the market...there is no market for it yet. In fact there is a broad range of problems that canonly be addressed if you drop outside the fundable sphere. Because they simply cannot be funded. "Sometimes it is because they exists in areas nobody wants to really think about (i.e. nuclear terrorism or economic collapse). Sometimes it is because the issue is perceived to be too far in the future, or too slow - projects which need a bit of money for 10 years, or projects which are likely to fail, or projects which mitigate risks that governments won't admit exist. Oen the work is inherently non-commercial and personal. These are just some friends and projects I admire. But there are so many of them out there, trying everything and anything all at the same time to address common challenges. Theyre like societys distributed R&D (research and development) lab. But also they suer a lot from lack of stability and lack of resources. One way of trying to stay in the fundable sphere is by attempting to invent or pitch market value for the things you want to do that are important but non-protable. If you do however manage to drop out of market space you see a huge increase in your own eciency, as you are not wasting lots of time in pitching or well as a sense of peace and freedom. (Source discussions: http:// and

We as a society have a big talent management problem. Because we have talented people doing out there doing important work. But we cant touch them. They dont want our money or they would want our money but not with the particular strings attached. For example they typically are very sceptical of innovation grants perceived as beaurocratic or trying to solve the wrong problems. Or trying to solve the right problems but doing so in contexts or through approaches that are doomed to generate lousy results.


But the good news is they are willing to interact to help you. Their radicalism is de-ideologised. I know this because Ive been involved in a project in which we managed to build a very diverse and vibrant community. It includes both radical innovators at the edge and eurocrats. The project is called Edgeryders. Elf is about the last person you would expect to put in time and resources to collaborate with the Council of Europe. It is a traditional European Institution borne out of diplomatic agreements between national governments, and ruled by ambassadors. Elf doesnt acknowledge sovereign states and did away with his ocial documents in 2009. When we oered to help cover costs of travel and accomodations as part of the invitation to the June conference, or even support him in kind, he turned them down- he prefers to hitchhike and stay with friends. But he is here, and generously supports the community with his time, knowledge, skills and friendship. And hes not alone. Since the launch of the Edgeryders online platform in October 2011, the Edgeryders community has grown to 2200 members, young and not so young, European and nonEuropean who have posted 480 mission reports (similar to long blogposts) and engaged in genuine conversations spread over thousands of comments. All these threaded throughout six themes: MAKING A LIVING, WE, THE PEOPLE, LEARNING, CARING FOR COMMONS, LIVING TOGETHER, and RESILIENCE. People come from all over Europe and as far as South Africa, UAE and US. If you approach them respectfully and ask for help they are likely to support you. If the context is meaningful to them of course.

So how do we better support them & the kind of work they do?

Given that we all agree that we need a lot of innovation to solve large urgent challenges like global warming,ensuring food security, dealing with the fallout from nancial crisis, upgrading our educational systems to better prepare our young...we cant aord to lose any of this talent. In fact radicalism is a cheap way to try new things that with small probability may work. But it costs a lot in personal terms ( Source discussions: http:// and Whether or not promising initiatives can come to fruition depends on many dierent factors. So we need to learn to recognise the value of this work and come up with ways of supporting it which do not rely on market value. With the help of a small research team, the Edgeryders community has identied common challenges and obstacles to people doing innovative work at the Edge of change. As well as some suggestions for overcoming them. (Source discussion:

Figure out how to Support networked individuals.

Jackys take on trying to understand the banking system is potentially groundbreaking work happening at the edge. She comes to Edgeryders #lote ( living on the Edge) because people in academia which should be natural community cant relate to what shes doing. And so the work that she is doing is with other individuals beyond or in spite of organisational boundaries...collaboration at the edge happens between individuals. Take the Resilient Health Systems crowd. They need to collaborate across disciplines, geographic boundaries, inside outside institutions so they can develop ideas to the point of testability. We want people to be given the opportunity to be looking for the proverbial keys where they fall, and not under the streetlamp just because thats the only place where light is shone. (Source discussion: help-build-edgeryders-p2p-school-resilience/mission_case/report-resilience-session-resilient-health-) It seems that online social networks are very good at processing and organizing information. Perhaps they are even more parallel than large organizations? The implications of scaleable online conversations on policy-related processes is one that ought to be explored in more detail. - The ties between social networks (online), collaboration and innovation. (See David Lanes paper on Ontological uncertainty & innovation especially his theory of generative relationships among agents & his theory of scaolding structures in market systems. - The ties between individuals, social networks, auence and access to resources. Especially in the context of enabling autonomy and ability to successfully navigate transition. I would like to see more about how this is addressed in social policy...i.e. what overlaps are there between good social policy and environments that better foster and support innovation and entrepreneurial-ness across the socio-economic board Check out these two avenues: 1. Longitudinal study of who becomes an entrepreneur


"everyone felt that they knew of places around Europe with seriousstructural problems, which were oen the same - things such asunderused building stock combined with homelessness; a feeling ofcommunity breakdown and lack of rootedness; high levels of youth unemployment; low levels of computer literacy..etc. At the same time, we each felt that we had a set of skills that were under-used... or which we could put to use in a socially-conscious way. So we pick a place. We movethere as a smallish group. we work, alongside local residents, to help the community adapt in a positive way... Twitter: unmonastery
Photo by Francesco (lost link :()

With a little imagination ways can be found to work with them in ways they would nd useful and would get them on board. And one of them is the concept we call the unmonastery. It is just a place where you would be free from everyday cares like chasing money for rent and can just be very eective and fast in developing your ideas. You can help other people to develop theirs and request their help to develop yours. This is good for them...if people tend to be problem solvers and love the idea to make positive impact. they will love the idea to work side by side with local community. Not installing problems but through mutual learning and support. bringing mixed skills and global networks to the table. We are in negotiation with the Italian city of Matera thats bidding for cultural capital 2019. Source discussion: and unmonestary-everybody-needs-sabattical as well as mission_case/what-would-you-bring-unmonastery

Look for people, projects, spaces that already have community support.

Successful community-based initiatives can increase health and well-being; build skills and employability; incubate micro-enterprises, create jobs and regenerate the local economy; include and support people with disabilities or health issues; reduce carbon impacts; bring together people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and dierent generations; reduce crime; bring into use redundant oces, industrial spaces, tools and equipment; increase community identity and cohesion. (Of concern also to those in employment: Mandating particular outputs presumes that designers of policy/ allocators of funding or investment know the situation on the ground in each locality. They don't. They need to nd, and resource, ways to receive as well as produce information about what seems to be working and gure out ways to support and help the community members who keep them going. (Source discussion, (esp. Jamess comment):


Image of the Teatro Garibaldi Aperto in Naples, source:

Over the last year groups of people have occupied theatres and spaces designated for culture in dierent parts of Italy. The groups are diverse, ranging from visual and performing art workers, researchers, technicians, cultural managers, people who work with cinema, publishing, translation, radio, journalism, but also students and 80 year old ladies. Dancers, actors, lawyers, architects and all other knowledge workers are working together in workshops, on stage, experimenting and exploring themes tied to the commons, precariousness, welfare, cultural policies and wasting of resources. These spaces are clean, open and lively with a varied, continuous, hybrid programing. They are accessible to all with the help of all the artists and workers, some of whom are celebrities: workshops, performances of all kinds, Sundays for children, aer-school care for children (in Sicilian spaces), the barter markets (Naples), seminars on copyle and creative commons, a desk to legal support and business planning support (Coppola Theatre), history lessons (Nuovo Cinema Palazzo), readings, projections, trump tournaments in the summer for the elderly (Nuovo Cinema Palazzo). In some of the theatres, people from the neighbourhood bring along personal items to share with others, and members of the neighborhood help with reconstruction of the buildings: they donate materials, professional and amateur plumbers and masons donate their time. (Source discussion: Another example is that of Access Space in Sheeld: mission_case/access-space-new-model-individual-and-community-development

Make it easier to be outside the market system for those who so chose.

We need to make it easier for people to be outside the market system. One approach is by guring out ways to harness excess capacity to support people doing ground breaking work: enabling people people to stay aoat by salvaging unused or underutilited resources that would otherwise go to waste. (Source discussions: http://,, and - Occupy as taking care of : Essentially what they are doing is raising the return on investment of public goodsdilapidated theatres funded with the public purse that would otherwise go to waste or end up as private wealth. While building vital social infrastructure and building social cohesion etc, incubating microenterprises etc. - In the uk e.g. you have underused buiding stock combined with homelessness: how many unused homes in the UK while how many people homeless? Criminalisation of squatting is in eect criminalisation of a strategy used to navigate skyrocketing and unaordable real estate prices, closing this avenue for many without providing alternatives beyond awarding contracts to authoritarian landlords such as Camelot (Ocially a security rm). (Source discussions: and between-squatting-data-mining-and-gold-farms) - Look at data regarding food thrown away in Europe. Look at work done by Abfallskuche in Germany and Food not Bombs in France- Salvaging it e.g. through dumpster-diving in Germany is problematic due to a combination of various regulations around handling of food and what is considered private property. - Explore social and labour policies that are aimed at minimising the waste of human potential as highlighted by

Market economics as a paradigm?

At a higher level maybe it's time to ask whether market economics as general paradigm has outstayed its welcome. It is supposed to be the best, most eective way to combine resourcesto solve most pressing needs. It doesnt seem to work for important problems- If people are doing this kind of work outside job market, perhaps it means something is wrong with the job market. Perhaps the need to generate prot is a signal so strong that it has drowned other signals like need to feed everyone, house people the signal to notdestroy the one planet we have. If the Chokepoint cant get funded but there is no problem paying developers that produce surveillanceequipment sold to syria...


A BIG THANK YOU to the Edgeryders Community.

Especially: Morgane Bravo , k , Betta_83 , LucasG , SimoneMuolini , Bridget McKenzie , dante , Alessia Zabatino , Nirgal , neodynos , andresdavila , olamoller , Involute Conduit , MissyK8 , thejaymo , James Beecher , jody boehnert , lucyanna , Darren , Patrick Davenne , James Hester , Jasmine Idun , mulars , MartyPaga , jorge.couchet 2,854 Tiago , benvickers , andrealatino , DarioMazzella , SteLicS , Georgel , Ginevra , Renato Turbati , Amalia Diosteanu , Giovanni de Paola , demsoc , edwin , JohnFMoore , thibaultgeroy, smari , Ben and Gaia , Emiliano Fatello , Arthur Doohan , SARCHA , asta , Arina Cretu , Michel Filippi , hkjovin , Florina Andonie , Karl Guy , Liudmila , Alexandru Urdas , Michael , Irene Fazio , Kevin Carson , romainlalanne , pedro.prieto-martin , Helene Finidori , Andrea Paoletti , davideeec , Jacky Degueldre , HenriLefevre , Ricard Espelt , jacky , Johh_Lyne_Jacky , elf-pavlik , Jonathan Sundqvist , esteremme , idilm , Simone De Battisti , Stefano Stortone , tania.fotescu , TOOLosophy , MarcoPiva , Constanze.Mller , Carlien Roodink , Jean Russell , mgarrigap , jessy jetpacks , Cyril Lage , Charanya Chidambaram , JOYE , Ioana Traist , vita dawg , brightfutureforall , gowitheow , Pietro Speroni di Fenizio , Ionela D , Gelada , Andrei Ioan Stan , amisha , katborlongan , zippy314 , SaLsaEducation , Tessy Britton , cbrewster , indinur , Jean-Franois Gauthier , Razi Masri , impossibleliving , Ibrahim Ahmed El Badawi , Medhin Paolos , La_Gaia , Michele Baron , Adria Florea , Stefano , Ronan , Giulia Morini , Luke Devlin , Carlo Alberto Degli Atti , waterfall , Federico Bo , Tudor Maeianu , Paola Lucciola , avygravy , Rossella Bargiacchi , Laurentius , AncaT , leniaoliveira , Aubrey , Patrick Andrews , FelixWaterhouse , james , Petros At FreeLab , Ana Soares , dariasantucci , MaxLath , Sami 888 , cittw , Andreea Furnea , Tamara , Emkay , Mariana I. Gavris , Andres Nin , Roxana Rugina , Jenny Kanavos , Yatan Blumenthal Vargas , Upper_Space , lasindias , Olof , dorcc , alessiobau , luisa.cattozzo , Marco Cesario , Anca Magyar , Kerileef , kalligraphia , Corline Van Es , nmshortt , CPT , Susanne Stauch , Ana-Maria Sas , Mariano Maponi , inector , Jean-Sbastien Bourret , cmonnom , Adrienne Odasso , bounder , ronsalaj , thisbigcity , steelweaver , GecewiczD , per , Marko Rakar

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